**GIVEAWAY CLOSED!**

The winner is… Aubin!

Congrats chica! Send me your address to [email protected]

CN: Are you a long-term or short-term transitioner? When do you plan to BC? M: I am a long-term transitioner. June 1, 2011 marked my 1 year anniversary! I am very proud to have made it and have had a pleasant experience thus far. I have been fortunate to have not experienced any major breakage; this has fueled my decision to be a long-termer. I do not plan to BC for maybe another 12 months. I get the itch though! 🙂 When I see the texture growing out of my scalp, I tend to look at my relaxed ends in disgust and I have to stop myself from cutting pieces out here and there (although last week I cut off a piece in the back center of the nape of my neck, just to see it curl). Earlier this year, I had my stylist (who I haven’t seen in a year) cut off two inches of relaxed hair just because they were so raggedy! Other than that, there have been no mini-chops. I have also had no direct heat for a year.

CN: How did family and friends react to your decision to transition to natural?
M: I am lucky to have family and friends who support my decision. Their attitude is whatever makes me happy will make them happy. I have two sisters (pic below) with lovely hair who I hope to inspire to take the plunge. Currently, my BFF, who is a hair stylist in the DMV, is also transitioning :). I also have an aunt who I have been trying to encourage to get back to her roots, so to speak. If I’ve had any negative experiences during my transition, it has come from in the form of weird looks from certain guys at work. Two weeks ago, I wore my hair in an updo and they didn’t understand how I got my hair to ‘stay up on top of my head that way, without moving’…I thought it was pretty funny. I used it as a teachable moment and even let them touch it so they would could feel that my hair was soft, just pinned down. I think their ignorance and amazement stemmed from the fact that they don’t have too much experience with Afro-textured hair. Overall, I have received several compliments.

CN: What is your transition routine?
M: A year ago, when I started this journey, I would go to my hair dresser (Dawn, Customized Hair Solutions, Kissimmee FL) every two weeks and allow her to wash, flat twist my hair, and perm rods on the ends. I would pay $50 for this service. In between those salon sessions, I’d do my own hair, which would be individual braids with the ends rolled using perm rods (Braid and Curl). Eventually, I decided I preferred how mine was done (and she admitted that she did as well). Also, although Dawn is the best stylist I’ve been to in FL, I wanted to transition to more earth friendly (natural) products and at the time, she did not carry the natural salon products. So a combination of being able to save money, getting to know my own hair’s needs, using products I wanted, and saving time and gas (she’s 45 mins away from me) led to my current routine.

Monthly: I do a scalp wash using Apple Cider Vinegar (diluted w/ water of course). I put the solution in the a squeezable bottle for easy scalp application. (Store this concoction in the refrigerator). Every now and again, I do a bentonite clay wash as opposed to the ACV. Bentonite clay extracts impurities from the scalp.

Weekly: My beauty day starts early AM. The night before, I divide my hair into 4 sections and do an oil wash using home-made Rosemary Infused Olive oil or Amla Oil. After ensuring my scalp and strands are coated, I cover my head using a plastic cap and a bonnet and hit the sack. When I wake up I hop in the shower and co-wash each section using V05 or something inexpensive that I found at Ross (Yes ladies, Ross! They have some good products for great prices) with the right ingredients. I then do my deep conditioner, which mainly consists of the Organic Root Stimulator Penetrating pack. To this I add tea tree essential oil, 2 tbsp coconut oil and 2 tbsp olive oil and stir. After applying to my whole head, I usually sit under the dryer for 30 minutes. If I have errands to run, I usually slap on a plastic cap and bonnet and a head wrap! As I wash out my deep conditioner, I detangle my hair using my wide tooth shower comb under running water, and re-twist and secure each section. Finally, I use a modified version of KimmayTube’s leave in. To style my hair, I take one section at a time, apply a quarter size of Giovanni Direct Leave, followed by my shea butter cream mixture. From there I end up with maybe 4 braids in each section. The next morning I take out my braids (using either castor oil or coconut oil) and style from there. I am trying to do more styles where my ends are hidden (a form of protective styling) so I experiment with a lot of up or back-dos :).


CN: What are your staple hair styles?
M: Initially I began by experimenting with twist or braid n curls…braid n curls worked best for me, considering my relaxed ends. I got tired of ‘sleeping pretty’ to keep the style fresh, so now I do those on special occasions. As I stated in the previous section, I love up-dos or ‘back-dos’. After I take out my braids, I gently pull them apart with castor oil (or coconut) and massage my scalp to get rid of the parts. I experiment with putting my hair up in different variations. A lot of the time, I end up with a flat twist of some sort. My signature style is two flat twists on either side of my head and I roll the hair left out in the back up into a bun. Every now and again, I change the position of the twist for a different look. For me, the up-dos are regal and office friendly.

CN: How do you moisturize your hair to prevent breakage at the new growth line?
M: For me, moisturizing is a big deal! I never want my hair to appear dry and dull. Dry hair leads to breakage! I try to reduce breakage by ensuring that my hair is properly moisturized. Since I usually only style a maximum of twice a week, I don’t have much tension on the line of demarcation. I made a concoction of aloe vera juice, Infusium 23, orange and rosemary essential oil and olive oil that I spray on prior to a midweek styling session. This helps manipulate the hair without breakage. Finally, I handle my hair gently! This means when I do comb, I comb from the ends of the hair up, and only with conditioner, under running water.

CN: Why did you choose to go natural?
M: My decision came as a result of wanting to live a more healthful lifestyle in general. Here I’d changed my eating habits and began taking more seriously my work out routine…When I went grocery shopping, I was reading the labels and it dawned on me that I was not living up to my new goal because no matter how much I deviated from man-made chemicals I put in my body and on my skin, I still applied a chemical every 6-8 weeks. I knew I needed to make a change. After thinking about it more deeply, I realized I didn’t even know what my natural hair looked like! Can you imagine that! I don’t think I’ve ever made a better choice! I hope more women will be encouraged to take the plunge. God makes no mistakes, and that includes your hair (whatever type it may be).

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Giveaway!

**Wanna get your hands on one of Lillian’s gorgeous hair accessories? In the comments below, describe your natural hair in one word.

At midnight, one curly will be randomly chosen to win the hair candy. Check back in tomorrow A.M., to see if you won!**